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I want to do an N layout with focus on passenger: those looooong 80' cars. I have about 10 feet of wall it can go against but even a simple oval with 20" radius means the reach distance is going to be too long.

What are some ideas or strategies to keep the min radius on the high side but still keep the layout somewhat contained?
 

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Forget the oval. You'll want to do a shelf-type layout, perhaps 2' wide, except where you have the return loops. This is the "dogbone" shape Dennis referred to. See the sticky thread on member layouts for a plan of mine, which is very similar to what you want to do.
 

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I don't disagree with the dog bone idea, but once you begin to fiddle with customizing it a bit to get whatever else it is that you want for a design, you may find that it doesn't do it for you. One problem inherent with a dog bone is the two mains so close together between the knobs at either end. If it's just a means to a greater end, you'll be happy. If you don't like the back-and-forth, then it won't work for you.

In smaller spaces, I like the around-the-room shelf type. You can keep the aisles wide, you can even squeeze in an island mid-room that acts as both a turning wye and storage yard for assembled trains. But the key advantage is wider, or deeper, benchwork in the corners that allows more generous curves and placing industries there to keep the wall shelving shallow.

If you can't have such a layout due to having to store things in that room, build higher. Allow storage below the layout, and get the trains up where you'll appreciate the view more realistically...near chest or even throat level. It will be a bit more difficult to build, but that's a part of building anyway...overcoming challenges.

One detractor, though, is that around-the-walls means an access gate that must swing up, swing down, or swing wide.
 

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N-scale passenger emphasis shelf layout

I want to do an N layout with focus on passenger: those looooong 80' cars. I have about 10 feet of wall it can go against but even a simple oval with 20" radius means the reach distance is going to be too long.

What are some ideas or strategies to keep the min radius on the high side but still keep the layout somewhat contained?
Sunsanvil;

I have an N-scale shelf layout that emphasises passenger operations. I built it in sections. (highly recommended) My standard (middle) sections are 4' long, 16" high, and 16" deep. (see third photo)
At the ends I have deeper sections for my turnback loops. My deepest section is 3' deep and it is low enough for me to reach the back. (I'm 6'-6" tall) It is also removable. If I disconnect the tracks that cross onto it, I can slide it out and get to any part of it.
The other end loop is on a peninsula, with access on both sides. (2nd & 4th photos, It's a two-level layout.) So no long reach is required. One of the "corner sections" (of the layout, not the room.) is also about 3' square. (1rst photo) The area on the right, with trees, is a liftout section) I have track way at the back, so a dreaded "duck under" is needed there. However, since I'm old and disabled, I "converted" my "duck under" to a "roll under" with a short, caster-equipped, stool. Getting back there is easy, but transitioning from sitting on the stool, to standing up inside the small access hole, is a bit of a P.I.T.A.. :eek:

My minimum radius is 16" with 19"< wherever possible. I find these curve radii quite adequate for 85' N-scale passenger cars.


good luck, have fun;

Traction Fan :smilie_daumenpos:


Black River Junction from aisle.jpg

Cape Ripiculous peninsula end view.jpg

Cedar Falls module. showing lightwood bookshelf arch with enginehouse & station in background.jpg

trees & train 3.JPG
 

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track plan

Have you got a plan of your layout I could look at?

Thanks.
Sunsanvil;

No, unfortunately I don't have a track plan. However, I can tell you how to make a very basic "3D model" of my mainline. No you won't need a 3D printer, only a common paper clip!
With needle nose pliers grab one end of the steel wire that makes up the paper clip. (either the inside end, or the outside end) Pull that end away from the rest of the paper clip. Then do the same thing to the other end of the paper clip's wire, pulling in the opposite direction. You should now have an elongated spiral. That is the shape of my mainline. An elongated helix, or spiral. Now put a small piece of paper inside the spiral you have just formed. Then look at the spiral from one of the long sides, with the paper blocking your view of the other side of the spiral. You are now looking at a "model" of my layout!
My railroad is a two-level type. My entire mainline is one continuous grade, with flat spots for the yards at Seattle, on the lower level, and Cedar Falls, on the upper level. I need this grade to get from one level to the other. The "back track" is concealed behind removeable backdrops, (hence the view-blocking piece of paper) so a train never passes through the same scene twice, except after passing through a reverse loop and returning, headed back down, or up, the long grade.

Traction Fan :smilie_daumenpos:
 

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A 22" radius will give a 44" half circle. On a 4x8 that leaves 2" on each side. Not much at all if the locomotive doesn't want to follow the curve.
 

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What is the typical setback for track from the edge of a layout?
It depends on what you have around the tracks. If you have the continuation of a slope that starts above the tracks, which are running across the slope, and continues after the tracks down to the edge, especially a steep one, you'd want several inches to give you a fighting chance to catch the tumbling rolling stock that derails...somehow. It happens.

If it's flat on either side, you could get as close to a single inch, provided you have a retaining wall, or a stiff hedgerow, that will prevent the derailed item from falling over the edge. If it were me, I'd have plexiglass or stiff plastic trees, or a scale wall...something at least 1.5" high to prevent a tumble over it.

It also depends on your risk tolerance. If it's a curved path that comes close to an edge, you'd best limit speed there to prevent momentum from ensuring a derailed and tumbling item, like an expensive locomotive, doesn't fall over the edge.

Without a barrier, I'd leave three inches as a bare minimum. Even that is very skimpy and risky, especially with momentum.
 

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44" center to center

A 22" radius will give a 44" half circle. On a 4x8 that leaves 2" on each side. Not much at all if the locomotive doesn't want to follow the curve.
MichaelE;

Actually you wouldn't even have that much. The radius of track curves is measured from the center of the ties. Your 44" doesn't include the other half of the track on both sides. That adds up to the full width of an HO track section, which this old N-scaler is going to estimate as 1-1/4" (some HO modeler can provide a more accurate measurement) So, adding that to the 44" there would be a bit under 1-1/2" left on either side of the 4x8. Also there would be some overhang of cars and locomotives that would need to be allowed for.

Traction Fan :smilie_daumenpos:
 
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